Identification of Hazardous Waste


In order to comply with the EPA’s Hazardous Waste regulations, lab workers must first understand how to properly identify the Hazardous Waste present in their workplaces. Hazardous Waste is defined as a waste meeting any one of the following three criteria:

  1. The waste contains any of the chemicals listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as being hazardous chemicals. The EPA has three lists of such substances that our lab workers need to familiarize themselves with:
    • the F-list, which is a collection of spent solvents common in our laboratories; and
    • the P-list and the U-list, which are commonly-used commercial chemical products. Labs which generate wastes containing these chemicals should manage that waste as a hazardous waste.
    • More information on this type of waste may be found on the EPA-Listed Hazardous Waste page.
  2. The waste exhibits any of the four characteristics of
    • flammability,
    • corrosivity,
    • reactivity, or
    • toxicity.
  3. The waste’s MSDS, packaging, ingredient list, or product website, indicates that the substance may be dangerous to humans or the environment. Some common examples of this type of waste are:
    1. Corrosive solid materials (anhydrous metal salts, hydroxide compounds, etc.)
    2. Carcinogens, Mutagens, Teratogens
    3. Chemicals with an MSDS which warn of skin irritation, eye damage, noxious fumes, etc.